PBOT makes big changes to NE Hancock in Hollywood District

The Tillamook neighborhood greenway, which extends east-west across northeast Portland just three blocks north of Broadway, is one of the city’s oldest, and it’s a key bikeway for people traveling through bustling neighborhoods like Grant Park and Hollywood.

Unfortunately, Tillamook has become so bustling around NE 33rd and Grant Park, that it’s no longer the recommended bike route.

As we reported last year, instead of making changes to Tillamook east of 33rd, the Portland Bureau of Transportation opted to route bicycle riders south onto NE Hancock, a less-trafficked street with more potential for traffic calming interventions.

Yesterday PBOT revealed how they’ve realized a big chunk of that potential.

In the two blocks between 41st and Cesar E Chavez, PBOT has prohibited through auto traffic and created an alternating one-way for drivers while maintaining two-way access for bicycle users (see Instagram video from Armando Luna at right). To enforce the changes, they’ve placed two concrete barricades on either end of the two-block stretch.

This lane configuration is already in use on several blocks of NW Flanders in the Pearl District.

PBOT still permits on-street auto parking on both sides and one lane is shared (marked with a “sharrow” marking) while the other is a bike lane buffered from parked cars.

Infamous Portland blogger Jack Bogdanski posted an article airing his grievances about the changes, titled “the stupid never stops.”

Here’s more from Bogdanski:

“The only souls who will be able to get through there on the road now are the 1 percent who do so on bicycles. Everyone in a motor vehicle gets diverted onto the nightmare that the bureaucrats have already made out of the nearby streets… But oh, the city’s many bikey children are no doubt beside themselves with glee.”

PBOT drawing of lane changes on Hancock.

Greenways are supposed to divert car traffic to create a safe biking route, so hopefully Bogdanski’s assessment is correct! We’ll see how these changes continue to pan out in coming months so this greenway is safer for people to bike on.

In addition to these lane changes, PBOT also plans to install a push-button activated crossing at Hancock and 33rd, speed bumps and greenway signage on Hancock from 28th to 62nd, and “enhancements to greenway crossing of NE Sandy via Kelly Plaza.”

These changes are part of the larger Tillamook Neighborhood Greenway Enhancement Project which launched in 2018. Learn more at PBOT’s website.

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David Raboin
14 days ago

I live in this neighborhood, just a few blocks away. These improvements to Hannock are great, but it’s still a bad connection at 42nd. I bike through there a lot and it’s pretty awful, especially with kids. We always end up on the sidewalk when eastbound. The ultimate fix for the Hollywood traverse would be to convert that little park behind Reo’s Ribs into a bikeway/walkway. That would make Hancock a straight connection following its historic right of way, but for bikes and peds only. PBOT could install a pushbutton and diaganal bike/ped crossing at 43rd. 43rd and Sandy has to be one of the bussiest ped and bike crossings outside of downtown. They should invest some dollars in making this intersection work.

EEE
EEE
14 days ago
Reply to  David Raboin

If you follow Taylor’s link you’ll see that’s exactly what the plan is:

https://www.portland.gov/transportation/pbot-projects/neighborhood-greenways/images/kelly-plaza-rendering

Steve
Steve
14 days ago

So cyclists will be routed away from the library, the park, and the high school.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Admin
Reply to  Steve

Yyyep!

Chris I
Chris I
14 days ago

I’m assuming they will be keeping the car door zone lane on Tillamook in place? Or are they going to replace it with sharrows?

Paikiala
Paikiala
14 days ago
Reply to  Chris I

Tillamook is not changing.

Mark Remy
Mark Remy
13 days ago
Reply to  Steve

The library is literally one block away.

soren
soren
14 days ago

Greenways are supposed to divert car traffic to create a safe biking route…

And instead of doing this PBOT is sacrificing an existing Neighborhood Greenway route to SUVs/Trucks/(cars). This contempt for a highly-used and well-established bikeway suggests that the Neighborhood Greenway Assessment report has now been deposited into PBOT’s sub-basement storage room of shame (alongside the 2030 bike plan).

How is PBOT going to fix the many broken connections/routes in our network (many in communities of concern) when they spend limited active transportation funds on re-creating existing bikeways? How is this compatible with equity, PBOT?

PS: A cheap diverter or two on NE Grant Place would have calmed this route without requiring expensive new signaling and a new route but PBOT was unwilling to face any kind of resistance from Nextdoor Associations.

idlebytes
idlebytes
14 days ago
Reply to  soren

Is a diverter even an option or is this an emergency route? That’s usually the first excuse. I’m sure some cheap wands that can be run over though wouldn’t slow down a fire truck. Also where would all the school kids get picked up? I mean I would love a diverter but it seems even less feasible here then other places that have seen a ton of push back just because of inconvenience.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Admin
Reply to  idlebytes

It’s an emergency route. That was one of big reasons PBOT routed away from it.

soren
soren
14 days ago

Half diverters are emergency vehicle compatible (see the half diverters on Harrison, for example) as are other several other forms of traffic calming.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Admin
Reply to  soren

Tell that to PBOT. I’m just a messenger.

idlebytes
idlebytes
14 days ago

If the problem is between 33rd and 36th why would they start with this two block section? It just gives people something to complain about, as Jack has already done, while providing almost no benefit to cyclists using the greenway. It would make more sense to pave Hancock from 33rd to 37th which would make drivers happy and then redirect the greenway to this section. Now instead there will be years of complaining about this underused two block section that doesn’t connect to the existing network until they get around to upgrading the rest of Hancock.

Although by the sound of it they don’t intend to pave Hancock which is pretty lame. If that’s the case I’ll still use Tillamook. It’s not that hard biking by a huge line of cars when school is out. And it’s certainly better to have paved roads and an actual light to cross 33rd instead of some flashing beacons. That section is much worse when it’s empty and someone behind you wants to pointlessly speed which is rare lately in my experience.

Joseph E
Joseph E
14 days ago
Reply to  idlebytes

They already re-surfaced Hancock, it’s much smoother than before, and they added a pedestrian/bike light at 33rd. I use Hancock from Fred Meyer to 38th all the time now.

idlebytes
idlebytes
14 days ago
Reply to  Joseph E

Oh I didn’t know they resurfaced that well that’s interesting. Thanks for the info I’ve avoided that street for such a long time.

Tim
Tim
14 days ago
Reply to  idlebytes

It’s all resurfaced now. Super loud grinding for 2 days while they did it.

maccoinnich
14 days ago

How are people traveling east on Hancock meant to cross Sandy? Kelly Plaza doesn’t extend all the way to the intersection.

idlebytes
idlebytes
14 days ago
Reply to  maccoinnich

I’ve biked through there it’s not impassable maybe 10 feet at most on the sidewalk. They could also add a bike only signal at the corner to go across Sandy to Hancock on the other side.

Psmith
Psmith
14 days ago
Reply to  maccoinnich

That part hasn’t been constructed yet.

David Raboin
14 days ago
Reply to  Psmith

Is there a plan to connect Hancock via Kelly Plaza? That’s my dream. Put a diagonal cross at 43rd and Sandy and then Hancock is a straight shot.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Admin
Reply to  David Raboin

Yes. We’ve covered that in previous stories. PBOT plans to create a bikeway through the plaza that leads directly to crossing features on Sandy. Here’s the sketch sketch of Kelly Plaza in Hollywood District with bikes going through it.

David Raboin
14 days ago

Thanks! I must’ve missed that story. This is great. I’d like to see the current route (Hancock-43rd-Tillamook) improved, but I don’t think that’s possible. A cut-through on Hancock via Kelley Plaza might be the best solution. We live right near this intersection and cross there on foot, on bikes, and in cars several times a day. It’s super tricky because it’s a five-way intersection and 43rd next to the Whole Foods is always Chaos with illegal parkers, illegal U-turns, and offloading trucks. When I’m with the kids, the natural thing to do is use Kelly Plaza. We always end up on the sidewalk and must wait through three lights: Sandy, 43rd, and 42nd.

Tim
Tim
14 days ago

Those trees in the rendering are getting ripped out for sure. They have super low branches so you couldn’t bike around/under them.

Paikiala
Paikiala
14 days ago
Reply to  Tim

Only a couple by the parking on Sandy, which will become a bike space.

Tim
Tim
13 days ago
Reply to  Paikiala

It’s the three in the park that have to be cut down. A bike can’t bike under or around them. They’re super low trees.

maccoinnich
14 days ago

Unfortunately this sketch doesn’t make it any clearer how someone crosses Sandy. I assume / hope they have this figured out, but they haven’t shown anything yet.

Chris I
Chris I
14 days ago
Reply to  maccoinnich

I assume they are going to use the existing parking space on the north side of Sandy, just west of the intersection, as a waiting area for cyclists. The signal would be bike-only, similar to what we have up at Sandy and 57th, allowing cyclists to head east/west.

Paikiala
Paikiala
12 days ago
Reply to  Chris I

Correct.

dwk
dwk
14 days ago

A Solution is search of a problem… I live here, bike the area everyday. There are about 100 places in Portland where the money and effort would be better spent.
The only problem with the Hollywood area is crossing Sandy, children can ride on Tillamook and Hancock…

Chris I
Chris I
14 days ago
Reply to  dwk

The issues (primarily between 37th and 43rd) are well-documented in past articles. Do you ride with kids on this stretch? Do they squeeze into the 2ft door-zone bike lane with massive storm drain dips every few blocks, or do they take the lane in front of drivers wanting to go 30mph while rolling every stop sign?

soren
soren
11 days ago
Reply to  Chris I

PBOT could have fixed the existing neighborhood greenway instead of abandoning it to @#$%ing SUVs/trucks/(cars). Please stop apologizing for PBOT’s failures.

ivan
ivan
14 days ago

Are there other examples of one-way streets with a contraflow bike lane in which parking is allowed on both sides? Having cars crossing the bike lane *against the direction of bike traffic* to get to/from parking on that side seems a lot less than ideal.

Bill Stites
Bill Stites
14 days ago
Reply to  ivan

Agreed. They recently designed it like this on SE 16th, between Hawthorne and Madison. I’m sure there are lots of factors to consider in these designs, but it would seem prudent to swap the ‘opposing parking’ and the bike lane to result in curb-side bike lanes.

You see the same issue with all the individual vehicles parking “backwards”. It’s illegal because it’s dangerous – blind pullouts, mirrors are worthless. I’m sure most drivers see it as no big deal … indeed, convenient to have your driver door to the curb.

maxD
maxD
14 days ago
Reply to  ivan

I saw this on NW Flanders. I agree that is not ideal.

bike_guy_ty
14 days ago
Reply to  ivan

On NW Flanders, just east of the bridge (between 15th and 14th). There may be some spots on NW Johnson as well, though admittedly I haven’t paid that close of attention to what the parking situation is along there.

maccoinnich
14 days ago
Reply to  ivan

NW 20th between Everett and Flanders, and between NW Quimby and Raleigh. Various stretches of NW Flanders in the Pearl and Old Town.

ellizabeth
ellizabeth
14 days ago
Reply to  ivan

I don’t understand the availably of car parking on the side where cars cannot drive (and which direction are they supposed to go when they drive to park).

Paikiala
Paikiala
14 days ago
Reply to  ellizabeth

Just like on a one way street, in the direction of the auto travel, facing oncoming cyclists.

David Hampsten
14 days ago
Reply to  ivan

I’ve seen several in DC – it’s not as unusual as you might think.

FDUP
FDUP
14 days ago

Personally, I’ve always preferred Hancock to Tillamook, especially after the speed bumps went in on Tillamook, and this just sounds like PBOT is going to start f’ing up Hancock also, no thanks!

Paikiala
Paikiala
14 days ago

The objects are not filled with concrete. Just upside down to reduce weight and cost.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Admin
Reply to  Paikiala

Dang it! Thanks Paikiala. I knew that, just typed the wrong thing. Fixed.

Bob
Bob
13 days ago

What route are all the kids that bike to Grant High School going to take? Schools and bikes go together and the Grant Place bikeway served that purpose. Did they consider putting a multi-use path all around Grant High School and Grant Park? accessible from 42nd by way of Thompson? When it really gets jammed up with cars in that area, I always end up riding slowly on the sidewalk and asking the pedestrians for forgiveness.

Mark Remy
Mark Remy
13 days ago

Every time I see an article like this on Bike Portland, describing some positive changes in bike infrastructure, I scroll down to the comments to see whether folks are managing to find ways to s*** all over it. I’m never disappointed.

Rod B.
Rod B.
12 days ago

I live near Hollywood and ride this portion of Hancock all the time and have never felt threatened by cars in this two-block stretch (it’s a low traffic street and not a through route). I don’t see what the changes really achieve, other than the symbolism of signaling the newly designated importance of Hancock as a bikeway. I suspect that Tillamook will remaining more heavily used by bikes, since it gets you directly to popular local destinations like the library, Grant High school, and Grant Park. Now if someone could put in some improvements so that cars don’t keep running through the stop signs right outside the library entrance at Tillamook and 41st, that would help! Seems wrong that cars get the most intuitive and most direct routes, while designated priority bike routes are more out-of-the-way.

Lenny Anderson
Lenny Anderson
10 days ago

I am a bit late to this party, but must say that riding the new route via Hancock from my place in inner NE to the Hollywood library is now a pleasure as opposed to the game of tag with motorized vehicles that characterized the original route via US Grant. As a member of the CAC that worked with PBOT to create the Tillamook Bikeway in the 90’s, I can say that it was only because we needed a signal across 33rd, that US Grant was prefered. The new activated signal at Hancock and 33rd does the trick…pretty well, and the newly ground Hancock is sweet. Was the striping in Hollywood necessary? Not really…streets are wide, but slow with little traffic; its easy to take the lane. But paint is cheap and will help many find this new option. And we always have to think of the less experienced riders in how things are designed.